Ex-factor: Undercooked Smith and Co face big task against India

Tourists don’t have many with experience of playing in the sub-continent, and against well-oiled hosts, this can be a disadvantage.

Published: 18th February 2017 05:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2017 07:44 AM   |  A+A-

Australia's Shaun Marsh bats during practice match against India XI in Mumbai, India. | AP

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Expectations are not high, from the Australian team that started its discovery of India on Friday, with a warm-up match in Mumbai. More than the quality of talent, there’s an ‘ex’ factor working against the tourists. It’s experience. Rather, the lack of it when it comes to playing in these conditions.

Of the 16 in Steve Smith’s squad, 11 have played Tests in Asia, but just six of them have had that experience on Indian soil. It can be a concern for a team which lost 0-3 in Sri Lanka the last time they played in the sub-continent.

IPL and Australia A trips to India notwithstanding, heat, dust, spin, noise and pressure form a combination those unaccustomed find difficult to master.

“Experience is one of the several handicaps this Australian lot has. It matters at this level and can be the difference between teams.

If the pitches are not too flat, like the one in Hyderabad (for the Bangladesh Test), the test will be new for most of them.

This is because they are a team in transition, low on experience of playing in Asia,” said former opener Aakash Chopra. 

Following a shake-up in the team and section committee after a humiliating home defeat against South Africa last year, Australia have reinforcements in opening and middle order. Spinners are no rookies, but none except for Nathan Lyon has played Tests in Asia. Against two spinners at the top of their game and a bunch of batsmen used to attacking spin, these are serious inadequacies.

“Batting, bowling or fielding, how you approach situations, adapt to changes over five days and learn to take risks — comes from experience. It’s invaluable and has no substitute. The Aussies have played IPL, but this is another game, on different wickets and in different situations,” felt former wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia.

The experience story also narrates how the teams have progressed in terms of settling down in the last few years. The Australians who lost 0-4 in India four years ago were by and large new to these conditions. The same with the Indian team that lost in Australia in 2014-15. But if this Indian team is to play there now, it will have 11 players with the experience of playing Tests Down Under.

Under the circumstances, the Aussies will bank on the knowledge five of this lot gathered when they played in Chennai for their A team in 2015. Of those, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Agar are expected to play responsible roles.

“A team tours are beneficial, as many Indian players can testify. The Australians who played here for their A team will gain from the experience. But Test cricket is different. How they handle situations Day 3 onwards will be key. That’s why this will be a different challenge for them,” felt Mongia.

“You should also remember that the A tour happened two years ago. Wickets may have changed since. You can’t compare the pressure factor either,” added Chopra. Not often do ‘ex’ and other factors stack up so heavily in favour of India when they take on Australia. Onus on Smith’s men to change that, with perceptions.

Stay up to date on all the latest Cricket news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp